Kris Bryant’s tremendous season was recognized Wednesday by the Negro Leagues Museum. Bryant won a 2016 Legacy Award, receiving the Oscar Charleston MVP Award.
Kris Bryant and Red Sox’ outfielder Mookie Betts received the Oscar Charleston Award, which recognizes the Most Valuable Player in each league. Bryant was voted by the BBWAA as the NL MVP. Betts was a finalist for the AL MVP Award that went to Mike Trout.
Theo Epstein and the Indians’ Mike Chernoff received the Andrew ‘Rube’ Foster Award for the top executive in each league. The Cubs and Indians played one of the best World Series of all-time that concluded with the epic Game 7. Epstein was named the Sporting News Executive of the Year last month.
• Oscar Charleston Award (Most Valuable Players): Kris Bryant (Cubs), Mookie Betts (Red Sox)
• Andrew “Rube” Foster Award (Executives of the Year): Theo Epstein (Cubs), Mike Chernoff (Indians)
• Wilbur “Bullet” Rogan Award (Pitchers of the Year): Rick Porcello (Red Sox), Max Scherzer (Nationals)
• Larry Doby Award (Rookies of the Year): Michael Fulmer (Tigers), Cory Seager (Dodgers)
• Josh Gibson Award (Home Run Leaders): Mark Trumbo (Orioles), Chris Carter (Brewers) and Nolan Arenado (Rockies)
• Walter “Buck” Leonard Award (Batting Champions): Jose Altuve (Astros), D.J. LeMahieu (Rockies)
• Hilton Smith Award (Save Leaders): Zach Britton (Orioles), Jeurys Familia (Mets)
• James “Cool Papa” Bell Award (Stolen Base Leaders): Rajai Davis (Indians), Johnathan Villar (Brewers)
• Charles Isham “C. I.” Taylor Award (Managers of the Year): Terry Francona (Indians), Dave Roberts (Dodgers)
• Kansas City Monarchs Award (Royals Player and Pitcher of the Year): Eric Hosmer and Danny Duffy
Kris Bryant and Theo Epstein will be presented with their awards either at the museum or in-stadium during the 2017 season.
Jake Arrieta is under team control through next season (2017). And Phil Rogers thinks the Cubs should sign Arrieta to a contract extension.
Uncle Phil Rogers reported Wednesday if the Cubs were to sign Arrieta to an extension and keep him with Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks it “would give the Cubs four more shots” at a championship.
Rogers explained Scott Boras said during the Winter Meetings “that any talk about a possible extension to keep him with the Cubs will come in January, when the sides meet to discuss Arrieta’s 2017 salary.” Arrieta is arbitration eligible one more time. Rogers thinks “the Cubs should view this as a critical negotiation to keep an invaluable piece of their puzzle.”
According to Rogers, Arrieta may be worth “$28 million a year for six years.” The Cubs would commit $168 million to Arrieta with the AAV that Rogers suggested. Rogers said he would give him an opt-out after three years and “even go to seven years, $200 million if that is what it took” to keep Arrieta.
Rogers admitted making a long-term commitment to a pitcher is risky, especially for one that turns 31 years old in March, but “it would be a shame for the club to let Arrieta walk away and wind up needing someone just like him in future Octobers.”
News, Notes and Rumors
• David Schoenfield tried to find a Zobrist for every team. But the Cubs are the only team with the actual Ben Zobrist.
• Mike Montgomery (0.080) and Jon Lester (0.092) had the second and third lowest batting average against their curve balls last season according to Daren Willman. Justin Grimm (0.140) and Jake Arrieta (0.188) were in the top 60.
• Bradford Doolittle wonders what is on tap for the 2017 baseball season … and if the Cubs can repeat as World Series Champions.
• Sports Illustrated ranked the year’s 10 strangest moments and plays … No. 5: Theo Epstein fools no one with his fake mustache.
• The Rockies have checked in with free agent RHP Greg Holland. Rockies’ GM Jeff Bridich confirmed they have “checked in” with Holland like most teams. The Rockies “have approached Holland with a multi-year contract” according to a report from Thomas Harding.
• Buster Olney explained why the White Sox hold all the cards in Jose Quintana talks. Rival executives told Olney the Sox asking price on Quintana is enormous. And just a reminder, the White Sox will not trade Quintana to the Cubs under any circumstances.
• Jon Heyman provided updates on the free agent sluggers that remain unsigned this off-season … and included lots more information from around the league in his latest report.
• According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Rangers are one of multiple teams in talks with Mike Napoli. The interest in Napoli “has intensified” since Edwin Encarnacion signed with the Indians. T.R. Sullivan reported the Rangers and Napoli are discussing a two-year deal for him to return to Texas. The Rangers are “moving closer to a deal with Napoli.”
• Luis Valbuena is “an intriguing free agent” and under the radar according to Jon Paul Morosi. Valbuena missed a lot of time last season due to injury. In 90 games, he batted .260/.357/.459 with 17 doubles, a triple and 13 home runs for a .816 OPS. Valbuena hit .238/.329/.446 with 35 doubles, a triple and 38 home runs for a .776 OPS in two years with the Astros. The Cubs sent Valbuena and RHP Dan Straily to Houston for Dexter Fowler.
• Manny Ramirez presents a huge complication for Hall of Fame voters according to Buster Olney.
• Sports Illustrated named Vin Scully its Media Person of the Year.
• Maury Brown listed the Top 50 Must-Follow Sports Business Twitter accounts of 2016.
• Scott Lindholm posted a list of the all-time current team records … and the Cubs are sixth, 10715-10192 (.513 winning percentage) behind the Yankees, Giants, Dodgers, Cardinals and Red Sox.
And last, but certainly not least, click on this link for the Cubs World Series Trophy tour schedule.
This Day in Cubstory
2003 – Cubs signed free agent Jamey Wright
1998 – Cubs signed free agent David Manning
1997 – Cubs signed free agent Matt Mieske
1982 – Kevin Hart, born
1973 – Theo Epstein, born
1946 – Ken Rudolph, born
1941 – John Upham, born